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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the transplantation of coconut palms from K. Kaashidhoo to K. Bolifushi
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Applicable policies laws and regulations
Existing environment
Existing socio‐economic environment
Impacts and mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring and management
Transport of trees
Farming or agriculture
Black turtle
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2010
Citation: Sandcays. (2010). Environmental impact assessment for the transplantation of coconut palms from K. Kaashidhoo to K. Bolifushi. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report addresses the environmental impacts of the proposed project for the transplantation of not more than 800 coconut palms from K. Kaashidhoo to K. Bolifushi. The primary objective of the project is to landscape the newly reclaimed land on Bolifushi Resort, which is being redeveloped and upgraded as a five star resort. This resort is being developed by SPH Ltd, a company with several years of experience in ecotourism development and management. The project has several socio-economic benefits. These include the revenue generated from the early opening of the resort, the direct and indirect employment opportunities and creation of roads as a direct result of the proposed project. It is from the proposed roads and proposed new house plots that the trees would be removed. The economic benefits to the coconut tree owners from the sale of the coconut palms could also be considered as a direct positive impact. Since the trees that would be transplanted have a zero mortality rate, the carbon sequestration from the trees would not be affected except for a short duration in which cutting off of some fronds would lead to a reduction in carbon sequestration, which would be negligible given that the bulk of the tree weight will remain with the tree. In addition, the Proponent would also plant 3000 or more coconut trees in a nursery or through other means. These trees would provide further carbon sequestration benefitting the environment in a special way by absorbing atmospheric carbon and contributing to the national goal of carbon neutrality. This would also help to offset the atmospheric emissions from the use of machinery for the transport and transplanting process, which is a direct negative impact of the proposed project. The holes that would be left after the digging would remain a public nuisance and health problem if they are not backfilled and levelled. Therefore, as an important mitigation measure, the holes would be filled with sand dredged from the existing harbour. This is not expected to have adverse impacts and the backfilling and levelling will further enhance the quality of the roads. The green waste from the project would also be taken to Thilafushi or appropriately dealt with on site. Provisions are also made for supervision and monitoring of environmental impacts to understand the overall benefits and impacts of the project over the long term. The monitoring is proposed to be undertaken for a period of two years. In conclusion, the socio-economic as well as environmental benefits of the project are greater than the negative impacts of deforestation including the impacts on terrestrial fauna from deforestation. In fact, the impact on fauna in the affected areas would be negligible given that the habitats of protected black turtle and important flora such as mangroves in marshy areas would not be affected at all. However, there may be uncertainties and care should be taken at all times during the implementation of the project.
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